🚫 Dryuary starts off strong, but it never lasts.

READER
Food & Drink

The scattered tub of takeout farfalle that’s been hanging out in the parkway for the past three weeks is looking really tasty.

Normally I’d be a good neighbor and clean that up as soon as I spot it, but last month it was so revolting I had to cover my eyes every time I walked by. Things are different now.
 
This is about the time of year where I might use this space to humblebrag about the dry January I’ve embarked upon. Yeah, yeah, I bought into that whole thing a half dozen or so years ago—not just as a break from booze—but also as a general reset after the three-month season of gluttony that gets more punishing every year’s end. There’s nothing more dreary than a food writer complaining about food and its consequences, so I won’t subject you to the litany of complaints my body makes by the end of December each year.
 
But the improvements that come from a boozeless, sugarless, carbless couple of weeks is always worth noting. The head clears. Water weight drops. Shoelaces seems less like torture implements and more like essential tools for achieving and maintaining verticality.

It never lasts long. Someone invites you for a cheeseburger on Day 6.  On Day 11 there’s a birthday to celebrate. January is also the month when I start thinking about cassoulet, something I started making in late winter/early spring ever since I wrote this story. This year I have some really fancy beans a friend sent me from Paris and a freezer full of extraordinarily pampered pig fat. 

Historically this is the time of year my ancestors would want to put that shit on—not take it off.

I guess that’s why this morning while running—let’s face it, hobbling—along the river, the sight of a stark, black-and-white bufflehead duck mingling among the mallards only seemed wondrous in the sense that I wondered how it would taste in the cassoulet.

A Dryuary also means I’m smoking more weed, which creates a fertile brainscape for that sort of Wile E. Coyote-style hallucination—not to mention sudden cravings for parkway pasta.
 
As I said, it never lasts. Things should be back to normal by January 23, when Monday Night Foodball resumes. Check in with me next week, when I drop a brand schedule and location for the Reader’s weekly chef pop-up. You’re gonna wanna cheat with me.

January 2020

Skip the hangover with Dry January
The five best places to indulge in booze-free concoctions in Chicago

by Micco Caporale

October 2015

Taking on food waste, one wilted vegetable at a time
At Stock, the cafe inside the new midwestern culinary mecca Local Foods, Abra Berens is giving new life to undesirable produce.

by Gwynedd Stuart

January 2020

Getting Lay’d: Lessons in potato chip diplomacy
Notes from a Thai and Chinese crisp tasting

by Mike Sula

October 2015

What is midwestern cuisine?
There are a few reasons why midwesterners find it difficult to describe the region’s food.

by Aimee Levitt

Issue of
Dec. 22, 2022 –
Jan. 11, 2023
Vol. 52, No. 6

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